Did you know that more than 25 percent of new hires quit their new job within 45 days? Often, it’s due to reality not meeting expectation. Preboarding – the early phase of onboarding that welcome, inform and prepare new hires for the job before the first day at work – is a tool that serves both the employee and the company well. Here are 15 tips on how to create more of that special WOW-experience and lay the foundation for a lucrative collaboration.Looking to attract top talents that deliver value fast and choose to stay at the company in the long term? Unfortunately, you are not alone. To attract such recruits, you need to prioritize something important. According to fresh reports from the Consultant Company BCG, preboarding and onboarding are (followed by recruiting) the most crucial part of modern HR. No wonder leading companies like Google, Facebook, and IBM are investing in this area since successful preboarding turns out to have an impact on the bottom line and strengthen the employer brand.
What exactly is preboarding?
Preboarding is part of onboarding, only it runs as a process before the first day at the office. Usually, the process is initiated right after the contract signing and runs up till the first day at work. The purpose is to create a soft introduction to the company and workplace while keeping the new hire engaged and excited about their new job.
Why is preboarding so important?
More and more companies have realized the value of a wholehearted onboarding. In addition to creating security and confidence in the employee, digital preboarding often has a ripple effect. Anyone who has just signed a new job is most likely excited and would like to tell friends and acquaintances about the assignment and the workplace. The more information and knowledge they have about your business, the greater the chance that other talents will also be interested. In short, few investments are as good as a good first impression.
Here are 15 waterproof tips to make your onboarding a success.
1. Update to engage
Nothing calms your nerves like being well prepared. For many, it is important to feel updated the second they set foot in the office, which means it is never too early to share deepened knowledge about your services, products and what is going on at the company. Put together an introduction that hits the employee's inbox five minutes after signing the contract – this is one e-mail they will most certainly read! Of course, there are a thousand things to go through, but think quality over quantity and invest in an interesting, fun and exciting summary. The last thing you want is to send over a giant document with information that has your new superstar running for the hills.
2. Make it fun but relevant
The content of your digital preboarding is limited and the process only lasts for a short period. Therefore, carefully select the most important information about the company and the service, and then put an individual touch on the content based on who you are talking to. Preboarding is sometimes called "fun onboarding", as the primary purpose is to create a sense of belonging and commitment. Just remember that fun stuff can also be informative and relevant.
3. Greet them with style
New faces, new routines and not least performance anxiety – the first day at work is usually one of mixed emotions for the employee. When you’re the new kid in town, everything can be a bit confusing and not much gets done. But the whole point of preboarding is to make everything feel familiar, comfortable and obvious from the start. A personal video greeting is an easy way to kick-start the onboarding process. It is common for the company CEO to send a greeting, but why not film the whole team and make a proper introduction? Maybe you have already found out about the employee's personal interests? Take the opportunity to congratulate them on their job with a bottle of champagne, a spa experience or a couple of musical tickets. Say hello in style and break the ice before you even meet IRL. Need some inspiration?
Lever has taken the welcome to the next level.
4. Show what’s so unique about you
During the preboarding, you can really bare the soul of your company – preferably in an entertaining way. No matter how you choose to present yourself, you should focus on all the things that make your days special. Here, you can also show in what way the employee can contribute their expertise and what difference it will make for the company in the future. An efficient way to both present who you are and create commitment. Besides, some candidates say yes to a job in a moment of excitement, only to start questioning their decision afterwards. Maybe they’re quite comfortable where they already are? What if the new boss is not as good as the current one? Look at preboarding as an opportunity to confirm the positive feeling the employee got during the recruitment process.
5. Keep it paper-free and effortless
Personal data, company policies, confidentiality agreements and bank information – before the fun begins, you need to sort out the boring bits. But heavy documents that must be reviewed, signed manually, scanned and submitted hardly leave a good first impression. An effortless administrative process, on the other hand, does. Keep the paperwork digital, simple and personal and let the employee focus entirely on their own role going forward. Also, identify the parts of your business that are completely generic and automate these as much as possible. Like what? Set up the employee's email accounts immediately. Everything "boring" can and should be ticked off before the first day at work.
6. Do a quick interview
During the recruitment process, most job seekers are careful not to express any negativity about the company or cross the line. But truth is, everyone can benefit from a little honest feedback in the end. An online interview – perhaps in the form of a questionnaire – is an appreciated element in the preboarding process, as the recruit is given an additional opportunity to express opinions, thoughts and expectations before the employment begins. Using questions that previous new employees have had, usually has a calming effect. The answers can help you tailor the employee's role and pave way for a job well done.
7. Encourage activity
Video greetings are great, but nothing really beats the physical encounter. All new employees are curious about who their colleagues are, what they do in their spare time and how they function as a group. To create commitment from day one, you can suggest lunch meetings or invite the new coworker to company events, group training and parties, so that the time between signing the contract and starting the job will be more than just waiting. Activities bring people together and boost team spirit, while radio silence can make anyone question their decision. Relaxed socializing is also a great way for the employee to get a sense of the company culture, which hopefully strengthens the commitment further.
8. Select a friend and a mentor
It is important that the employee sees the preboarding as a motivator rather than a must, as the actual employment is yet to begin. Regardless of how you design the process, the employee should have a mentor available if questions arise along the way. Also, a work buddy is usually very appreciated, someone who knows the company inside and out and is happy to share experiences and tips. Why not choose someone from the employee's future team, since they will be seeing a lot of each other anyway?
9. Live up to your promises
You may have picked the employee, but the employee has also chosen to work with you. You have a mutual responsibility for your future collaboration. Therefore, start fulfilling your promises already during the preboarding process by showing what a good work you are. Do your brand values include words like transparency and clarity? That’s not exactly unusual. Set up a chat in your digital tool, encourage communication and show the employee that it’s not all talk (no pun intended). By sending the right signals from the start, loyalty bonds are guaranteed to be strengthened. Another way to create credibility is to ask for direct feedback on the recruitment process.
10. Offer “the grand tour”
Perhaps the employee has already seen the office during the recruitment process, but during the preboarding, you should invite them again. Getting to know the physical space has a very relaxing effect when you’re “the last person in”. If you’ve also prepared their room or workplace and perhaps added a personal twist, you leave little to be desired. Why not digitally schedule the visit just before the first day at work?
11. Make the big day even more special
Put yourself in the employee's shoes as the countdown begins. Everything that is completely obvious to you can just as easily be a complete puzzle to somebody new. Where do you park outside your building? How do you check-in? Does the company have a dress code? Show that you pay attention to detail and provide the employee with a digital plan for the first time in the office. The clearer the guidelines and the better the assistance, the faster you can start your joint journey forward.
12. Be extra careful with international recruitments
Talent is found all over the globe. For foreign employees, the onboarding process is perhaps even more important than for someone who changes jobs at home. Many times, a new position involves moving at short notice, which is a big challenge. Getting familiar with the assignment at the same time can be truly overwhelming. Do you have a special program for international recruitments? Involve it in your digital process and make sure the transition is as smooth as possible.
13. Hand over the authority
Onboarding is about more than making the employee feel at home and welcome at the company. There are lots of important things to get acquainted with to fully grasp the assignment. Here, it is important that the onboarding doesn’t start to feel dissuasive. A way to avoid this is to let the employee decide the order of priority. Remember, "freedom under responsibility" is a popular principle for a reason …
14. Gather information
Most of these tips are about personal connection and keeping the communication going after the contract is signed. However, good old data is also a prerequisite for optimizing your onboarding. By continuously (but not too often) allowing the employee to evaluate the onboarding during their first year at work, you can obtain useful information about which parts have worked well and less well. This documentation will help you fine-tune the process and further differentiate you from the competition.
15. Top your onboarding with off-boarding
No one likes to see a good employee move on, but we all know that very few people stay in the same workplace for life. When people leave within the first year, it is often due to a lack of communication and follow-ups. A well-structured onboarding often prevents this. Studies have shown that companies that also supplement their onboarding with off-boarding can succeed in re-employing up to 15 percent of those who have quit. Good to know if you’re thinking long-term.
Manual onboarding lacks the efficiency of a digital and automated process, where you can easily customize and improve the content over time. What does your onboarding policy look like today?
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